14: Dred Scott, Wong Kim Ark & Vanessa Lopez | SLJ DVD Review

redstar14: Dred Scott, Wong Kim Ark & Vanessa Lopez. 67 minutes. w/English & Spanish subtitles. Dist. by Graham Street Productions. 14themovie.com. 2014. $125. UPC 857670005114.14 Dred Scott, Wong Kim Ark & Vanessa Lopez DVD

Gr 8 Up –From the minute this documentary begins until the end, viewers are confronted with the question of who has the right to be an American citizen. The film opens and closes with Vanessa Lopez describing her hopes and dreams. Viewers meet three generations of the Lopez family and see them challenge the movement to end “birthright citizenship.” It also traces the history of the Fourteenth Amendment through the Dred Scott and the Wong Kim Ark Supreme Court decisions. We meet the descendants of the people behind the law cases, such as Dred Scott’s direct descendent Lynne Jackson, and learn about the legal matter by visiting the courthouse and examining primary documents with her. The Wong Kim Ark case is introduced through meeting his granddaughter and viewing his original habeas corpus petition to the Supreme Court. We tour Angel Island, where Ark was detained and learn about the indignities the Chinese endured in this country. Director Anne Galisky adeptly weaves the material together to captivate viewers throughout. The movie personalizes each case by returning to a historical site and featuring primary documents, drawings, and photographs. Each time period is introduced with a graphic time line that grabs viewers’ attention. VERDICT An engrossing and well-made focus on the citizenship clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It is also an excellent depiction of what the undocumented immigrant endures living in the United States.–E. Frank Bayer, Flushing High School, New York City

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